About UpFront

PROGRAM

UpFront is a brave space for LGBTQ+ young people of-color who’ve been affected by foster care and experience disconnection from accepting family. 

This affirming community of support partners with its members to ensure their connections to loved ones, safety in home and community, and readiness to navigate adulthood. 

APPROACH

We believe that every young person’s voice is valuable and deserves to be heard – it should be UpFront. As a peer-led group, sessions are designed and led by peer leaders. Sessions are typically based on one or more of the following five themes:

  1. Connections to unconditional love & support
  2. Feeling safe anywhere
  3. Planning for my future
  4. Financial awareness & security
  5. Having FUN!

FOR THE MEMBERS

UpFront provides resources to every member. Some of these resources are for anyone who participates. Other resources are tailored to the specific needs of individual members. 

For each session attended, members receive an unlimited weekly MetroCard to be used at their discretion. 

Members who are unable to attend group sessions receive a round-trip MetroCard by meeting individually with program staff. 

UpFront provides food during in-person meetings and special events. It can also assist eligible young people with SNAP registration. 

UpFront’s community is rooted in acceptance, helping each other, self-care, and perseverance. 

As a goal-setting group, UpFront members are encouraged to set personal growth goals at their own pace. We, as an organization and as a group, use our partnerships and connections throughout NYC to help them reach their goals. 

Members have the opportunity to develop advocacy skills and develop as leaders by understanding and learning conflict resolution, different perspectives, patience, wants vs. needs, realistic goal setting. 

Through a partnership with PowerOn from LGBT Tech, members have the opportunity to access technology such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops. These devices allow them to come together and form a community outside of UpFront and apply for jobs/school.

INTERESTED IN JOINING?

Are you a young person who might benefit from UpFront? Do you know other LGBTQ+ young people of-color affected by foster care who might? UpFront meets Wednesday afternoons, both virtually and in-person. 

If you’re a LGBTQ+ young person affected by foster care and would like to learn more and join the group, please complete the following form.

GET INVOLVED

Want to support UpFront and its members? We always welcome new ideas and partners. 

Please reach out to bryan@fosteringchangeforchildren.org to learn more, get involved, join, and/or refer LGBTQ+  young people of-color affected by foster care. 

UpFront Zystory

UpFront launched October 2017. Based on their experiences and a need for meaningful services, the original group leaders worked with Bryan to design and implement the UpFront model. After successfully leading 4 group cycles, Rosie and Brie moved on to the next stage of their professional journey. Their influence informed the group’s current approach of all members being group leaders. 

Group Leaders

Rosie Williams

Rosie Williams

Group Leader

Rosie Williams was one of UpFront’s original Group Leaders. Rosie entered foster care at 8 months-old, and spent the next 20 years placed in more than 30 foster care placements, including foster homes, group homes, residential treatment centers and hospitals. Rosie currently works with CASA – NYC as a youth advocate and speaker. She formerly worked with You Gotta Believe’s Nobody Ages-out Youth Movement. Rosie does not want foster youth to suffer the same losses she experienced while she was in foster care.

Brieanna Hayes

Brieanna Hayes

Group Leader

Brie Hayes was one of UpFront’s original Group Leaders.  She was in foster care for six years. Brie believes things happen that we can’t always control, but we can always learn from them and grow stronger. People describe Brie as passionate, funny, thoughtful, artistic and caring. She plans to attend college to study grant writing and business management. She is working as a chef in training now. She formerly worked with You Gotta Believe’s Nobody Ages-out Movement. Her message to adults is”you don’t always have to understand, but you should always be there to support young people the best you can.”